Purpose: The role of a combined regimen of local hyperthermia and topical chemotherapy in patients with multifocal and recurrent superficial bladder tumors not curable by transurethral resection was evaluated in a neoadjuvant organ sparing clinical study.
Materials and methods: A total of 19 patients with multifocal, superficial grades 1 to 3 bladder tumors that recurred after intravesical chemoprophylaxis or immunoprophylaxis underwent local combined administration of microwave induced hyperthermia and intravesical chemotherapy as a debulking approach. Due to extensive superficial involvement of the bladder walls complete transurethral resection of all tumors seemed technically unfeasible in all cases and radical cystectomy was considered the treatment of choice. Endovesical hyperthermia at 42.5 to 46C was delivered using the SB-TS 101 system, based on a microwave transurethral applicator that irradiates the bladder filled with a circulating solution of mitomycin C. Patients underwent 8 weekly 1-hour sessions on an outpatient basis without anesthesia. When possible, after treatment patients underwent transurethral resection of residual tumors and all suspicious areas.
Results: After treatment transurethral resection appeared to be feasible and curative in 16 patients (84%). Histological study revealed complete and partial responses in 9 (47%) and 7 (37%) cases, respectively. Due to extensive residual tumors radical cystectomy was performed in 3 patients (16%). At a median 33-month followup 8 superficial transitional tumor recurrences were documented and easily eradicated by transurethral resection or laser therapy in patients in whom the bladder had been saved.
Conclusions: Microwave induced hyperthermia combined with intravesical mitomycin C seems to be a feasible, safe and elective approach for conservative treatment of multifocal and recurrent superficial bladder tumors when other treatment strategies have failed.